Belize

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About

Homes on Waterfront

  • Belize is the only country in Central America without a coastline on the Pacific Ocean; it has only the Caribbean Sea to its East.
  • It is located between Guatemala and Mexico.
  • Belize’s terrain is flat, swampy coastal plain with low mountains in the south.
  • The majority of the population of the Belize District is urban, living in Belize City.
  • Some major attractions include exploring the lush jungles with exotic plants and animals, deep sea fishing, swimming, snorkeling and diving in the Caribbean Sea, and visiting the Mayan ruins.

 

HISTORY

  • The Maya thrived from roughly 2000 BC to AD 1500
  • In the early 1600s, the Maya finally staged a counter offensive that successfully drove out the few Spanish settlers and missionaries that had decided to stay.
  • Territorial disputes between the UK and Guatemala delayed the independence of Belize until 1981. Guatemala refused to recognize the new nation until 1991.
  • Tourism has become the foundation of the economy as the old agricultural products, such as sugar, banana, and oranges, have lost ground.
  • The country remains overwhelmed by high unemployment, growing connection in the South American drug trade, and increased urban crime.
  • In 2006 commercial quantity oil was discovered in the Spanish Lookout area.


FACTS

    Waterfall

    • Belize is one of the best places for shark viewing and some of the best times to go are during the raining season of April – July.
    • Belize has a rare breed of howler monkey that is known as one of the top ten loudest animals in the world
    • Belize has the only known jaguar preserve in the world it is located in the Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary
    • Belize is one of the richest Mayan history locations with over 900 historic locations.
    • Belize has such a dense population it is one of the most populous in the world for its size
    • Outside the Belize mainland is one of the world’s natural reefs known as the Belize natural reefs with 200 separate islands.
    • The waters off Belize are known to inhabit more than 400 species of sub tropical fish
    • Gibnut is a famous cuisine in Belize – it is actually a very popular rodent in Belize
    • Belize has the most differentiated species of bird in Latin America over 500 locally
    • 2/3 of the Belizean natural forest is safe from exploitation due to strict government regulation
    • It is culturally rude to greet someone by their first name when meeting them for the first time in Belize.
    • Superstition on Good Friday prevents Belizean natives from swimming in lakes or the ocean during this time for if they do it will not provide good fortune
    • The national motto of Belize is “Under the Shade I flourish”
    • Typical Belizean lunch include tamales, meat pies, seafood, cassava or beans and fish.

Avg. Costs

Beach at Placencia

  • An inexpensive meal may cost as much as $10(USD), on the other hand, meals can be found for as little as $3(USD). Mid range meals may reach $20(USD), while more expensive meals rarely surpass approximately $25(USD).
  • Shoestring travelers can survive on 60-80 BZD a day
  • The cheapest hotels start at about 20 BZD, better ones start at 40BZD.
  • Beers in Belize cost anywhere from US$1.50 to US$3 a bottle
  • A full meal with wine and dessert for 2 costs just under $90 BZD ($45 USD)
  • Casa Tortuga, Belize – Snorkeling $30 US, Scuba diving $50, Fishing trips cost $225 US for half day or $275 US for a full day, Mayan Ruin Tour $75 US.
  • At a local diner type restaurant, a meal of rice & beans with chicken costs about BZ$7.00 to $8.00; fried or BBQ chicken about BZ$5.00 to $7.00; Chinese food BZ10.00 to $15.00. Meals at better or hotel restaurants could be anything from BZ$20.00 to $80.00 depending on the restaurant and what you order.

 

Click here to see The Economist’s Big Mac Index.  It is arguably the world’s most accurate financial indicator to be based on a fast-food item.

Currency

Information is coming soon.

Safety

Howler Monkey

  • Violent gang related crime is extremely high recently, especially in Belize City and surrounding areas.
  • Rape, theft and assaults are daily occurrences in many parts of the country.
  • Human trafficking also plays a role.
  • Travelers should maintain a high degree of watchfulness when traveling the country.
  • Nevertheless, Belize can be equally as safe as it is dangerous. It is mostly poor areas that are prone to crime.
  • Belize City is one of the most dangerous cities in Belize, although it’s very easy to be safe there. Remain in the tourist zone that runs just north of the marina to the southern extension to the east of the main canal.
  • There are plenty of khaki tourist police monitoring the area, and should you have a problem, feel free to approach them.
  • Do be cautioned that male homosexuality is illegal resulting in a possible punishment of a 10 year prison sentence. Female homosexuality, however, is legal.

 

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Climate

Belize Lighthouse

  • Belize is typically hot and humid day and night year-round.
  • The coolest part of the year is December to March, where temperatures vary by only about 4°C .
  • The hottest part of the year is from May to September, where the daily temperature range is around 10°C.
  • In the uplands, Mountain Pine Ridge and the Maya Mountains, temperatures are expected to fall by about 3°C for every 1000ft rise in altitude.
  • The wet season runs from May to November in the south and from June to November in the north.
  • November to February is a transitional period, with the year’s coolest temperatures and a limited amount of rain.
  • The dry season is February to April. There’s quite a large difference in rainfall between the north of the country (around 1500mm or 60in a year) and the south (about 4000mm or 160in).

Places to See

Mayan Ruins

Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave

  • Located in the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve, a short drive from San Ignacio Cayo.
  • The cave reveals secrets of Mayan culture through well-preserved ceramics, skeletons and hidden chambers.
  • Tours are limited to a small number of operators to preserve the archaeologically important site.

 

 

 

St Herman’s Blue Hole National Park

  • The turquoise waters of the Blue Hole, a 7.6m- (25ft-) deep collapsed sinkhole, is a popular swimming spot.
  • The park is home to an abundance of birds, animals, flora and St Herman’s Cave, an ancient Mayan cave.

 

Hummingbird Highway

  • Go caving and spelunking.
  • Belize’s interior hides thousands of caves.
  • The most accessible is Rio Frio Cave in the Mountain Pine Ridge area.
  • View Map

 

Ancient Ruins

  • Wander through the exquisitely carved Xunantunich ruins, considered some of the most beautiful and intricate in the Maya world.


 

 

Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve

  • Enjoy fine views and secluded streams in the 121-hectare (300-acre) Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve in the Cayo district.
  • The area contains the Hidden Valley Falls, which plunge 305m (1,000ft) into the valley.

View Map

 

 

 

Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

  • 40,500 hectares (100,000 acres) of tropical forest
  • Set aside in the Maya Mountains in 1984 to protect the jaguar population.
  • Other residents include jaguarondis, howler monkeys and toucans.

 

 

 

The Museum of Belize

  • Art and history museum in Belize City, Belize.
  • Formerly the Belize City Prison, it was restored and renovated into a national museum.
  • It features exhibits of Maya artifacts and explores some 3,000 years of Maya history, the prison’s history, colonial life, and cultural exhibits of the many ethnic groups of the nation.

View Map

Etiquette

Country Customary Information:
• The international calling code is +501

Communication Etiquette:
• Tend to be formal when addressing each other
o First names are generally used by those in the same business position
o Wait to be invited to address on a first name basis
• Not very direct
• Avoid Confrontation
• They do not tend to have direct eye contact when talking, even to someone of seniority
• If invited to the home of a Belizean, bring wine, spirits or some kind of desserts
• Punctuality is not often enforced in the country

Business Etiquette:
• Dress for both men and women is generally casual
o Men, cotton or khaki pants and a collared shirt, sandals other than flip-flops
o Women, cotton or khaki long pants, Capri length pants and shirts or knit tops, sandals are also acceptable
• Decisions in negotiations are made by seniority
o Establish a relationship through small talk
 Sports, family, places of interest
 Avoid talking about politics, race, and religion
• Gifts are not expected in the business setting

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